March for Science 2017

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Political subjects consume a lot of time to research, to make certain that my opinions are reasonably grounded and not based upon the media influences that come my way.  I don’t do it often, mostly due to fatigue brought about marchforscience-1024x512by daily news.  However, sometimes I get curious, where issues draw my interest like the allegations of racial reasons for the naming of a Clemson building.  It’s important to keep an open mind and start with the facts.

So we’re having a march for science, to demonstrate that the participants are against… Donald Trump.  I would be on board with the March for Science if the claim was that they suffered for funding due to administration priorities for poetry, literature, drama, political science, philosophy, or, I’ll say it, even football.  That’s obviously not the case here, but neither is the politicization of science..

The agendas of our political parties differ greatly, but the common outworking in terms of lawmaking, rulemaking, funding, fiscal policy, etc. is the reward or punishment for U.S. stakeholders - corporations, entities, organizations, individuals – heck even foreign governments -  depending on where they stand on a political party’s agenda.   Whether tweeted or spoken, Trump points out a direction, but with a maximum of eight to ten words to a sentence (and a wise preference for brevity), he either lacks the ability to persuade or chooses not to do so. Such is the “us vs. them” nature of our current bicameral system.   So, we take what little he gives us and try to guess at what the ramifications are.    Two major campaign promises, which he seems to hold to, are reigning in the regulatory power of the Federal government and cutting government spending. 

In matters of science, Trump has said “We stand ready …  to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries, and technologies of tomorrow.”  That’s a broad, ambitious statement that seems to support scientific investment and endeavors.  But, to some, this means, respectively,  wasting money that should go to the needy, overpopulation, and global environmental disaster.  And, I understand reasonable doubts are deserved given, for example, his anti-vaccine stance, which begs the question of who he turns to for credible information.

His first budget confirmed the fears for many who are “invested” in science.  With proposed cuts to the  EPA, NIH, Dept. of Energy (funding for renewable energy), and NOAA among others, what’s a scientist to do?  Well, join other scientists, concerned citizens and Trump protesters and march on April 22nd, Earth Day! The March for Science does a nice job of outlining their goal, essentially to bring political pressure on governments to save people and/or the planet though Science! …but mostly it’s about climate change (“in the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus.”)  So who backs the March for Science?  Institutions that promulgate objective science discovery?  Or those that support political actions who cling to science that agree with their philosophical (or other) leanings?  Take a look at the partner organizations, and test what the motivations would be for each.   There are both, plus others with apparently a few bucks to chip in (The Wick Poetry Center?).

I like science.  I like the idea of testing an idea and finding that it holds true under close scrutiny and is repeatable when tested by others.  What I don’t like is the political pseudo-science that holds popular opinion as much as any “fake news.”  All men can be created equal, but it doesn’t mean that their opinions should hold equal weight, especially when fringe voices, if not louder, are certainly so plentiful.  Or the hucksters, like Dr. Oz.  It all points to the continuing failure of Western society to educate in general but also in critical thinking, which isn’t that distant a cousin from the scientific method.  Should we trust science?  Yes.  Support it?  Yes.  Is all reported science true?  No.  Perhaps we’re too lazy or trusting.  When science disagrees with our opinions, too many are quick to condemn the results based on who funded the research.  There may be influence there, but not if it’s truly a scientific finding that is supported by other scientists.  But like my rare political posts, it’s worth investigating anything that shapes your priorities about the way you live your life, whether it’s the resurrection of Jesus, global warming, or cancer from (insert favorite food here).

As for the Walk for Science/Earth day, I’ll be enjoying nature on a kayak, picking up occasional litter rather than littering the streets.  I’ll trust good science but not necessarily those who tell me what I should think about it.

Here’s some things you can think about.

 

 

The March for Science Politics:

MarchforScienceISIS

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